Don Thomas claimed a huge victory in the inaugural Rooftec NHRA Competition Eliminator Cash Clash on Friday at the Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals. Thomas defeated Chase Williams in the all-dragster final and, from a total purse of $50,000, collected a cool $30,000 for the win. Thomas powered to a stout (-.63) 6.94 to defeat Williams' valiant (-.57) 6.86.
"What Rodger [Brogdon, Rooftec owner and also a Comp racer who took part in the event] has done is just incredible for us," said Thomas. "To be in a Sportsman class and to be able to race for this kind of money and be on TV, I can't thank him enough, honestly."
Thomas, at the wheel of his Panhandle Performance Engines/Matco Tools C/DA, reached the final without breaking a sweat as two-time Indy winner Greg Kamplain red-lighted against him in round one and six-time national event winner Rick Brown’s B/TA Chevy S-10 broke against him in the second round. A solid (-.52) 7.06 advanced him past second-generation Comp racer Taylor Chomiski and into the final.
Williams caught an early break when event favorite Jeff Taylor, a three-time U.S. Nationals champ, fouled against his B/Econo Dragster in round one. He followed with a (-.51) 6.95 to beat Sean Dodd in round two and a (-.52) 6.93 to beat the new favorite, past Indy champ Brad Plourd, whose supercharged AA/AM roadster ate a blower before the finish line.
As if the prize money posted by RoofTech wasn’t enough, organizer Rodger Brogdon upped the ante by hosting a Calcutta, which is an auction where individuals could bid on each driver to win. After the bidding, each racer in the Comp Clash had the option to purchase half of the action, a provision which most were eager to take advantage of. The bidding was fast and furious and by the time it was over, the 16 drivers had attracted an additional $36,750 to be split among the finalists.